Term 1, Week 8 Newsletter 2023
As we move into our eighth week of Term One it is timely to reflect on the start of our school year. Through our Professional Learning Teams (Grade group teachers and teacher assistants) who meet each week and whole staff meetings once a week St Finbarr’s is committed to whole school improvement in all areas. Today the leadership team met with senior leaders from the Catholic Schools Office to fine tune our annual school plan and three year school improvement plan. In our next newsletter we will provide more detail regarding these plans.
While engaging in some professional reading recently I came across an article which is dear to our hearts here at St Finbarr’s. We talk about engaging the students in their learning and providing opportunities throughout the day for building resilience and independence.
If children are to grow up well-adjusted, they need ever-increasing opportunities for independent activity, including self-directed play and meaningful contributions to family and community life, which are signs that they are trusted, responsible and capable. They need to feel they can deal effectively with the real world, not just the world of school,” (David F. Bjorklund, study co-author and a professor in the Department of Psychology in Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.)
The study also showed that children’s freedom to engage in activities that involve some degree of risk and personal responsibility away from adults also has declined over the decades. Risky play, such as climbing high into a tree, helps protect children from developing phobias and reduces future anxiety by boosting self-confidence to deal with emergencies.
Among the many constraints that impact independent activity in children today identified in the study include increased time they spend in school and on schoolwork at home.
“A major category of independent activity, especially for young children, is play,” Bjorklund said. “Research, as well as everyday observation, indicates that play is a direct source of children’s happiness.”
The researchers suggest the increase in school time and pressure to achieve over decades may have impacted mental health not just by detracting from time and opportunity for independent activities but also because fear of academic failure, or fear of insufficient achievement, is a direct source of distress.
“Unlike other crises, such as the COVID epidemic, this decline in independent activity, and hence, mental wellbeing in children has crept up on us gradually, over decades, so many have barely noticed it,” Bjorklund said.
“Moreover, unlike other health crises, this one is not the result of a highly contagious virus, but rather the result of good intentions carried too far — intentions to protect children and provide what many believed to be better (interpreted as more) schooling, both in and out of actual schools.”
The article concludes by noting that concern for children’s safety and the value of adult guidance needs to be tempered by recognition that, as children grow, they need ever-increasing opportunities to manage their own activities independently. The article suggests ways by which this can be accomplished in today’s world and ways that paediatricians, family doctors and public policymakers can help promote such change. Interesting food for thought particularly as we grapple with the influence of social media and dramatic increase in children’s time in front of screens.
Parent Community Group
Thank you to our parents who came along and joined in the discussion. Your presence was very much appreciated by all. Everyone is welcome to join us next Monday evening for Part Two.
|Louisa Evans||Hamish (6) Eva (4)|
|Santosha Schuler||Marlia (1)|
|Renee Lord||Ari (1) Ella (K)|
|Carrie Christensen||Spike (K) Coco (2)|
|Kira Rawson||Benji (5) Coco (2) Van (K)|
|Emily Mascall||Jed (3) Camilla (1)|
|Charlotte Crivelli||Tilly (2) Harper (4)|
|Joao Henriques||Indi (K)|
|Leanne Coventry||Aria (K)|
|Eve Keller||Theo (1)|
Class Parents 2023
Thank you to our parents who have nominated to assist with the class. We are still looking for more people to get involved, feel free to share the role with a partner or group. Below is the list of classes and nominations.
Front of school pick up - Police Warning
We are finding an increase in students being placed in danger at after school pick up. Unless for outside appointments during school hours or being picked up from sick bay, students are not to leave the school through the front office. Parent parking and pick up is at the rear of the school through the oval drive through, or by parking outside and entering via the side gate. Police have contacted the school and alerted us that parents/ grandparents/ carers are parking illegally on the grass area at the front of the school and also having students cross the busy road to their cars. The far northern front gates are for bike riders and walkers only and not for parents to park on the grassed area. Thank you for supporting our efforts to keep all children safe.
Anzac Day is fast approaching and our preparations for the Day are well in hand. St Finbarr’s has been invited by members of the Byron Bay RSL Sub-Branch to join in the Anzac Day Service on Tuesday 25 th April, between 10.45 a.m. and 11.15 a.m. Two of our school representatives will be giving a brief presentation on the Kokoda Track campaign during WW2. All students will be supplied with hand waving flags and cordially invite all participants to join us in the Services Club for a soft drink on completion of the March and Service. We are asking students to wear their full school uniform and gather at the Main Beach carpark at 10.30 am.
Catholic Schools Week
Catholic Schools Week is a time to celebrate our shared faith, educational excellence and the importance of every student. Catholic schools offer an educational foundation for living life to the fullest through the development of the student’s spiritual, intellectual, physical, moral and emotional growth. We will be celebrating Catholic Schools Week at St Finbarr’s in the first week back after the holidays and invite you to come along and be part of the school community. More information will be available in our next newsletter.
Kinder tours commenced last week with another enthusiastic group of children and families coming through the school. Once again many of our families have siblings already enrolled in other grades. If you are aware of any families considering St Finbarr's for 2024 please pass on this information as enrolments will close early in Term Two.
There will no Assembly this week due to the cross country. Any students who have been nominated for awards this week, will be presented at the Monday morning assembly.
Yours in Partnership,
Over the last couple of weeks, a number of our students have been preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. For the past two weeks the candidates have attended special masses as a part of their preparation with Father David giving each child a beautiful copy of the Lord’s Prayer as a keepsake as a part of their preparation. Bishop Greg Homeming will confirm the candidates next Tuesday the 28th of March at St Finbarr’s Church Byron Bay at 6pm. All families and friends are warmly invited to attend what is sure to be a very special evening.
St Patrick's Day
Last Friday was such a wonderful day of celebration. Our Infants students celebrated a beautiful Mass acknowledging St Patrick and how he was a man who loved God and how in his life he chose to serve God and spread His message of love. Father David in his homily taught us how God is like a shepherd, how he knows every one of us, and knows everything about every one of us. He knows us even by our very own names.
All students were dressed in green to acknowledge and celebrate St Patrick’s Day bringing in a gold coin donation for Project Compassion. Thank you to the generosity of our school community, our students raised just over $500 on this one day!
Autism Understanding Day
Next Friday the 31st of March we will be acknowledging Autism Understanding Day. Students are encouraged to wear clothing that represents them. This may include dressing up as a superhero, wearing pyjamas, clothes that are your favourite colour, your softest pair of shorts, or even your school uniform.
Everyone is encouraged to participate, whether you are autistic, love or know someone who is autistic. This will be a day where we acknowledge our autistic friends at school, family members, and those who are autistic in our community.
We will celebrate neurodiversity, acknowledging our differences is what makes us all so special and that we all deserve love, respect, tolerance, acceptance and understanding for just being who we are and that we all have a responsibility to help create a world where autistic people can reach their full potential.
Yours in Partnership,
Mrs Sonya Piccoli
AP Mission & Additional Needs
Learning & Teaching
New K-2 Syllabus Feedback
The new syllabus has brought with it lots of changes to the why, what and how we teach fundamental literacy and numeracy skills. We are now 8 weeks in and I can positively say that the students and teachers are really enjoying the “new” way of doing things.
Research states that consistency and predictability are keys to creating a positive, safe learning environment - the structure of the “new way” brings consistency (not only within the day to day routines of each classroom but also across all K-2 classrooms). It also brings with it predictability and routine which supports the students and teachers to see and feel success.
It has been fantastic to wander around and visit the K-2 classrooms during Literacy and to not only see the many similarities across the classrooms but also the engaged learners focussing on phonics and developing higher order literacy skills.
We have had a few questions come in and I thought it would be helpful to answer them here for everyone (incase you have been thinking the same).
What are decodable readers and why the change?
Decodable readers are specially constructed to allow students to practise their decoding skills. They are made up of sounds and words that students can decode and a small number of high frequency / irregular words that students have been taught. Regular practice reading decodable books, with words that students can successfully decode, can boost confidence, encourage mastery of letter-sounds relationships and allow students to improve their reading accuracy and fluency.
Can we still read the books we have at home?
Of course, we encourage you to continue to read to and with your child at home. Reading and storytelling with babies and children promotes brain development and imagination, develops language and emotions, and strengthens relationships. Sometimes you can read, sometimes you can look at picture books, sing songs or tell stories from your life and culture. Babies and young children often enjoy books, songs and stories with good rhyme, rhythm and repetition. Anytime is a good time for a book or story! Try to share at least one book or story each day.
Why are the books that come home easy?
The purpose of student's reading at home is to practice and consolidte what they are learning at school and to celebrate their success. This in turn will help them to build their confience as independent readers. The books the students bring home should and will be 'easy' with a 98-100% accuracy rate to support this consolidation and feeling of success. Home reading should never be stressful (for parent or child) and we do not expect parents / carers to be teachers of reading.
Home readers are not quality literature as such, they serve a purpose to support classroom learning. Please continue to read to and with your child, a range of texts to help them develop a love of books.
What can I do at home to help my child/ren?
- Read to them, with them and listen to them read! This is the number one priority.
- Support your child with any homework they have been set from the teacher and school - this not only allows you to see what is happening in the classroom, it also allows you to see how your child is going with that learning.
- Stay up to date with Compass notifications, newsletters and the weekly grade overviews as this gives you insight into the topics and concepts covered in class for the week and any important whole school events.
Additionally this booklet (linked below) by the NSW Department of Education is FULL of wonderful ways you can support your child at home with their Literacy and Numeracy development.
Dance Fever Showcase
Please join us for our first DANCE FEVER Showcase. Monday 3rd April (Week 10) in the school hall.
The students will be showcasing what they have been learning this term (and you might even get an opportunity to join them on the dance floor).
Kindy - Yr 2: 2pm
Yrs 3- Yrs 6: 2:30pm
Congratulations to all our Yr 3 and Yr 5 students who have been participating in NAPLAN assessments over the past week. The students have demonstrated excellent concentration, effort and persistence. Today most students completed their Numeracy Assessment with a few students still needing to make up some tests they missed due to absense.
Individual student performance is shown on a national achievement scale for each assessment. This scale indicates whether the student is meeting expectations for the literacy and numeracy skills needed to participate fully in that year level. A NAPLAN individual student report will be provided later in the year.
Yours in Partnership,
Mrs Lauren Magnus
AP Teaching & learning
Diocesan Winter Sports Trials-Grafton/Maclean
Congratulations to the following students who have been selected to trial at the Polding Winter Sports in their respective sports. Good luck to you all!
Rugby Union: Harrison.
Soccer: Marley H, Nancy & Milla
School Cross Country- Week 8, 24th March
Hopefully everyone is all set and ready for this Friday’s Cross Country Event. Please ensure all students are wearing their coloured House shirts, have appropriate running shoes, plenty of water and their school hat.
The day will begin at 9.15am and all parents are most welcome to attend and bring your lunch to have with us after the completion of all events at 10.55am. Please note; all students must remain under the House Tents and supervised by teachers while the carnival is running.
If your child is a diagnosed Asthmatic, please ensure that the office has a current Asthma plan and required medication by Friday.
Parking will not be available on the school oval.
An invitation to Grandcarers
If you are a Grandcarer who looks after your grandchildren fulltime, DAISI Services is here to support you in your important role of helping your grandchild or grandchildren reach their potential.
The Grandcarer Project, an established group, is ready to welcome you.
Frequency: The first Monday of every month. The dates are: 6/3/23, 3/4/23, 1/5/23 ,5/6/23 ,7/8/23, 4/9/23, 6/11/23
Time: 11.30 am – 1:00 pm, with lunch provided.
Venue: Ballina Masonic Hall, 56 Cherry St, Ballina.
Please contact Sue Hetherington on 0491 065 906 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.